Script vs Screen

Ep 12 - The Grinder

October 6, 2015

A surprisingly hilarious show marking the return to television of two incredibly strong actors - Rob Lowe and Fred Savage.

In the Grinder Rob Lowe plays Dean Sanderson, a super-star actor who just finished a long stint as a super-lawyer known as "the Grinder." Rob Lowe's comedy chops go all the way to Wayne's World and in Tommy Boy, with this intentional straight-man character with impeccable comedic timing. But for the most part he has played dramatic roles that included the West Wing, Brothers and Sisters, and Dr. Vegas. More recently Lowe played state auditor Chris Traeger for five seasons on the very funny and much loved Parks and Rec.

Together Lowe and Savage are a comedic dynamic duo. With William Devane as their affable lawyer father, Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Stewart's wife, and Hana Hayes and Connor Kalopsis as Stewart's children rounding out the immediate family and cast. And the casting is superb - Mary Ellis and Kevin Arnold... I mean Fred Savage have a genuine relationship that is funny and enjoyable to watch on screen.

The final product takes the script and pumps it up on comedy steroids. The rewrites and changes clean any sort of odd choices right up. Lizzie, the daughter (originally called Rebecca), was described in the script as chubby and slutty and making out with six guys, changes to a lovely and funny Lizzie who has a boyfriend in the one football player. The case they are working on - the eviction of the Ramirez family is more real. Dean for one doesn't commit a crime (thank god! It seems a bit too ridiculous) but instead "finds the evidence in the garbage" which from watching any cop procedural is fair game. If you pay close attention, the show is executive produced by Nicholas Stoller (The Carmichael Show, The Muppets) a strong comedy writer with a good sense of both written and physical humor. It could be that the Mogel/Paul script received some solid notes to help bring the script to the next level.

In closing, our dear esteemed jury, is that The Grinder is this season's hottest new comedy. Rob Lowe and Fred Savage together make two very funny reasons to watch the show, and the evidence of that is set in the pilot.